Here’s a perfect salad/side that just screams Summer! Maybe that’s why Chef Joe Kindred (Kindred’s Restaurant in Davidson, North Carolina – you might recall I posted a recipe for Kindred’s Milk Bread awhile back) named the original “Summer Bean Salad.”
My adaptation of his Summer Bean Salad contains everything good and retains the Southern roots – there’s corn and baby limas, fresh green beans and garden fresh tomatoes. A few radishes add a crunch and a home-made vinaigrette drives those flavors home.
In his original recipe the chef doctored up some chicken broth with a piece of country ham. Since I usually have some ham broth or a bone or hock in the freezer, I just made up some ham broth using this recipe (someday my ham broth will get its own post) then simmered the limas in that rich broth and let them sit. Really, for the flavor, it is SO worth it. ‘Sides, while I might have a ham bone in the freezer, I don’t think I’ve ever had a piece of country ham just hanging out ready to be used at a whim. If you don’t have a ham bone or country ham, think about using some bacon drippings in the dressing to replace some of the olive oil.
Speaking of limas, I went full on Lima beans for this recipe and left out the Fava beans – I mean really, the combo of the two beans seemed a bit strange and Fava beans just didn’t seem to follow the country roots of the recipe. The vinaigrette is a little brasher because I used a cider vinegar, and we all loved it. The ham broth seems to add just a hint of salty sweetness that’s balanced by the vinegar.
Summer Bean Salad
- 2 ears corn, grilled (brush with a little olive oil and salt and pepper, first and grill for about 8 minutes over medium high heat, turning often)
- 4 – 5 cups ham broth from this recipe
- 1 1/2 cups baby lima beans, fresh or frozen
- 2 cups heirloom style cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 4 to 5 ounces green beans, trimmed (a large handful)
- 4 to 5 radishes, thinly sliced
- 1/8 cup olive oil
- 1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
- generous salt and pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup packed chopped parsley leaves
In a pot, bring the ham broth to a boil. Add the lima beans, cook until tender (15 to 20 minutes) remove from the heat and let cool in the cooking liquid for 1 hour. Set a fine sieve over a large bowl and strain the beans. Transfer the beans to a serving bowl to cool. Set aside 1/3 cup of the cooking liquid to cool.
Reheat the broth to a simmer and add in the green beans. Cook until crisp tender, remove from liquid and add to the lima beans. Reserve the broth for another use.
Add the corn and remaining vegetables to the bowl with the lima & green beans. Top with the parsley.
In a jar, add reserved 1/3 cup ham broth, olive oil and vinegar along with salt and pepper and red pepper flakes. Shake well and drizzle over vegetables. Gently toss, taste for flavor and add more salt and pepper as desired.
Note: If you don’t want to make a ham broth for this recipe, the original recipe says to take 2 quarts of chicken broth and in a large pot, combine the stock with 1/3 cup of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of black pepper. Add a 2 ounce piece of country ham, optional, and the crushed red pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer for 15 minutes. Then proceed with the recipe.